Monday, December 20, 2010

Net Neutrality

. . . has been a big headline on Drudge lately. You don't actually have to know anything about the issues to know the Democrats on the FCC are wrong. How do I know? Congress never granted the FCC the legal authority to regulate the internet. It's that simple, there should be no other argument. If Congress wants to pass a net neutrality law, they can surely do so, without a whimper from the Supremes no doubt. But the extra-constitutional power grab by the Obama administration is exactly what the left always complained about Bush. To be fair, I complained as well. But you don't see them protesting now.

From an article on the Comcast decision last April, whereby the FCC was smacked down by the D.C. Court of Appeals:

But Comcast argued that the FCC order was illegal because the agency was seeking to enforce mere policy principles, which don't have the force of regulations or law. That's one reason that Genachowski is now trying to formalize those rules.

The cable company had also argued the FCC lacks authority to mandate Net neutrality because it had deregulated broadband under the Bush administration, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005.

The FCC defines broadband as a lightly regulated information service. That means it is not subject to the obligations traditional telecommunications services have to share their networks with competitors and treat all traffic equally. The FCC maintains that existing law gives it authority to set rules for information services, including Net neutrality rules.

Tuesday's court decision rejected that reasoning, concluding that Congress has not given the FCC "untrammeled freedom" to regulate without explicit legal authority.

With so much at stake, the FCC now has several options. It could ask Congress to give it explicit authority to regulate broadband. Or it could appeal Tuesday's decision.

Hopefully, the Supremes will take this up and conclude, again, that the FCC is on tyrannical bender.

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